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Sustainable design; Energy Evaluation, EcoDesigner and EcoDesigner STAR

Moderators: Karl Ottenstein, LaszloNagy, ejrolon, Barry Kelly, gkmethy

Re: EcoDesigner and EcoDesigner STAR are [NO LONGER?] unusable for design[!]

I just wanted to post a follow up on the issue I was having in previous versions and say that PHYSICAL SHADING IS NOW TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT IN THE ENERGY BALANCE REPORT in AC18 6004, though It's important that you understand how to update openings to make sure it makes it's way into the energy balance report (see screen shot below).

Unlike the zones which seem to know when something has changed and warn you that you should need to update the zones, you also have to refresh the solar analysis by recalculating any window which has had a change to it's solar exposure (size, shading, orientation etc), so while it's a bit clunky in terms of interface, it does now work if you change an overhang the solar analysis of model based shading makes it's way into the energy balance report - YAHOOO!

It would be nice if there was a one step refresh everything button for smaller projects, though I would guess as projects get larger having the ability to separately control what is being recalculated could become very important.

See attached screen shot of required step to make sure shading makes its way to the openings solar analysis / energy balance report.

I can't vouch for some of the other more detailed issues others were having since this was a show stopper for me to even start using the tool, but am hopeful that this is a sign of general improvements to the tool.

A shout out to Miklos and his team - thanks for making this happen in AC18! - I'm excited to start using it!

pallsopp42 wrote:At the risk of repeating myself regarding EcoDesigner calculation issues and errors, have the following items been addressed in any updates to EcoDesigner in ArchiCAD 18?

1) When selecting higher performing window frames, the R value drops (not good)

2) Adding physical shading elements over windows doesn't seem to make any difference to the energy consumption calculations but selecting a "shade type" from a list within EcoDesigner does. If we are building physical models of buildings, EcoDesiger should account for the effect of shading devices located on the building. Otherwise the shading devices, while they do indeed throw shadows, become far less useful and more in line with arbitrary applied "aesthetics" - something we avoid at all costs.

3) Placing trees near a building can bring EcoDesigner Star to its knees as it calculates the shading effect of leaves on the building - yet actual shading devices seem to have no bearing on EcoDesigner's energy assessment

4) Are we ever going to get the range of typical HVAC equipment in used in the US? For example, will EcoDesigner ever link HVAC objects such as ductless split air distribution units or specific heat pumps for ductless interior devices so as to account for the actual power loadings and the actual cooling (or air-heating) efficiency of these systems?

It is CRITICAL to professional credibility to have accurate calculations come out of EcoDesigner and EcoDesigner Star (why have two variants by the way when only one of them does the job?). Thus far as a firm using ArchiCAD 18 and Ecodesigner in the US, our requests seem to have fallen on deaf ears. At least that's how it feels as a firm whose primary focus in using ArchiCAD is to create accurate and complete physical models of structures, and not as a quasi drawing system for supplementing the typical architect's design office processes.

If we knew what the status was of these fixes and where they can be downloaded - e.g. new HotFixes for ArchiCAD 18 - it would let us know how to proceed - use EcoDesigner Star or just return to a completely unlinked, standalone "guestimate" system not connected to the BIM model, the latter of which is very unsatisfactory.

Any light you can shed on these issues would be very much appreciated.


Phil Allsopp, D.Arch, M.S.(Public Health) RIBA, FRSA

Transpolis Global: USA, Inc.

Phil Allsopp, RIBA, FRSA
Principal and Trustee
Smart Pad Living, LLC

Adjunct Professor
ASU Global Institute of Sustainability

M: 480-276-7707
S: philallsoppskype
T: pallsoppRIBAUSA

ArchiCAD 18
EcoDesigner STAR
CADIMAGE electrical

OS X (Yosemite Beta + OS X 10.9.4)
iMac (3.4 GHz Intel Core i7; 16GB RAM)
Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 4.15.33 PM copy.jpg
This is good news.
But one question: are you referring to AC18? Because that is at build 3006 at the moment. However the latest in AC17 is build 6004.
Good catch laszlonagy - you are right I had both 17 and 18 open when I was writing that. I tested it in 17 6004 and it was not working with that version / build - must have looked at the build number for 17 when I was talking about 18 - So to be clear - my comments below were regarding AC 18 build # 3006.


laszlonagy wrote:This is good news.
But one question: are you referring to AC18? Because that is at build 3006 at the moment. However the latest in AC17 is build 6004.
I set up a LinkedIn group (ArchiCAD + Passive House) where I posted specific questions relative to some of these issues.
A number of Graphisoft folks have kindly joined the group and several have recently visited the dropbox folder where I placed PLN's and other supporting data.
Hoping for a preliminary response from Graphisoft in the near future.
Feel free to join the LinkedIn group. Share your email address with me and I will send you a link to the dropbox folder.
David Bitter - AIA, CPHC
(404) 272-7678
Our office has been trying to determine how to use ArchiCAD 18 EcoDesigner Star to produce an energy model for the LEED energy credit and integrate it into our projects at an early phase.

I am looking for help from an EcoDesigner Star user who has fulfilled the LEED energy modeling requirement in compliance with ASHRAE 90.1 appendix G.

I have created an energy model of a large commercial building and was wondering if there is anyone out there who can help troubleshoot through some of the differences between the requirements of ASHRAE 90.1 and the ArchiCAD software inputs.

Below are a few of the areas I am looking for help with.

1. How do I model the parking garage?

2. What are the systems input values for the baseline building, and for the proposed design?

Joseph Cox
energy report snap.JPG
Hi Joseph,

I really need to know more about your project to give you a detailed answer but here are some generic thoughts that I hope will help you with your work:

1) Naturally ventilated/partially open parking garages should be excluded from the building energy model and only viewed as a shading object. Mechanically ventilated/underground parking garages are modelled as Unconditioned Spaces. With no heating or cooling equipment installed, the internal temperature is allowed to free-float (check whether it remains within the comfort range required for garages throughout the year). Mechanical ventilation system and lighting equipment should be modelled as their energy consumption must be included in the calculations.

2) For baseline system descriptions please reference ASHRAE 90.1 APPENDIX G Section G3
When preparing the energy model of your own design, follow the instructions of Section G3 as well but input the system design parameters proposed by your system engineer.

Best Regards,
Miklos Sved wrote: Naturally ventilated/partially open parking garages should be excluded from the building energy model and only viewed as a shading object. Mechanically ventilated/underground parking garages are modelled as Unconditioned Spaces.
Best Regards,

I agree it should be modelled in specialized CFD-fem Multiphysics software
You need to deliver live links to models and please dont waste time on static IFC conversions HTH
Treebranch wrote:Thank You Miklos Sved and DesignEngineerBIM!
We have returned our license for EcoDesigner Star. Part of the reason was that as architects we do not have the MEP expertise to utilize the software. We are looking to IES for our next projects.

Pitty, you could have easily simulated the underground carpark air flow and contaminant flow in a fea- multiphysics programs like comsol, ansys, etc.
coupled with stress,strain,thermal,CFD, acoustics,etc..perfect for prelim analysis/presentations ... 2851164609

Comsol allows engineers/users to develope stand alone apps. :wink:

Interesting article here ... eport.aspx